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May 29, 2013

Minister for the Environment Launches New Tools to Help Manage Hazardous Substances

Environment Minister Amy Adams has launched a new multimedia toolbox to help businesses understand and manage the risks posed by hazardous substances.

Ms Adams says research shows that every year approximately 500-800 New Zealanders die due to industrial illness, many due to exposure to hazardous substances.  The Minister states “There are procedures in place to protect people from the risks posed by hazardous substances, but a recent survey has shown only 25% of businesses comply with best practice.  That is simply not good enough.  Exposure to hazardous substances is largely preventable with the right combination of education, enforcement and greater investment by industry in modernising safety systems.  Businesses and workers need to make themselves more aware of the simple actions they can take to prevent exposure to hazardous substances.”

The Environmental Protection Authority has created the toolbox to raise awareness among small and medium sized businesses about the risks of working with hazardous substances such as paints, solvents and liquid agrichemicals.

The toolbox includes:

  • A guide to working safely with hazardous substances
  • An online calculator that allows businesses to enter a list of their hazardous substances and learn what key controls they need in place
  • Posters reminding workers about the health impacts of being exposed to hazardous substances and the meaning of chemical labels
  • Five animated safety videos designed to convey key safety messages to staff; and
  • An easy reference emergency response plan
To order a free toolbox go to: www.hazardoussubstances.govt.nz/toolbox or phone 0800 376 234.

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